On June 22nd, Apple hosted their first ever virtual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), launching the latest version of their OS. iOS14 is a free and sizeable software update coming to iPhones later this year and it’s set to be a big hit with consumers and businesses alike. With it, comes improved customisation options, new Siri capabilities and notable changes to privacy and speed.
Let’s talk customisation
Up until now, iPhone users have become accustomed to the same layout on their home screens – four apps or folders across and up to six tiles down, plus a dock at the bottom. But with iOS14, they’ll be able to tweak their layout to suit their needs.
The general principles of the layout are ultimately the same, but users will now be able to bring in widgets for Weather, News and more, so they get the information they need without delving into specific apps or swiping to Today View. What’s more, the widgets come in a variety of sizes, so users can adjust them depending on how much screen real estate they want for other applications. Additionally, with Smart Stack, users can create a stack of widgets, keeping their Home screen tidy while on-device intelligence works to bring the relevant widget to the surface, based on time, location, and activity.
In addition to widgets, apps can now be hidden from the home screen for a cleaner look. They are then stored in App Library, another new feature which organises your apps into neat folders, with built in search function and a Suggestions folder. The Suggestions folder is powered by Apple who make app recommendations based on usage habits.
Messages, Siri and a new Translate app
Messages is a central communication tools for friends, family and businesses, and now, with a few refinements, it’s even easier to stay connected and quickly access important messages. Users can pin conversations to the top of their messages list, keep up with group threads more easily through mentions and inline replies, and further customise chats by setting a group icon using an image or emoji – here’s looking at you WhatsApp.
Siri has also had a bit of a makeover. It’s now more knowledgeable than ever and can find answers from across the internet to even the trickiest of questions and requests. The new update also brings the capability to send audio messages too, which makes quick replies easier when the user is busy.
Another fantastic new feature is Translate, an app designed to do what it says on the tin, translating both voice and text in over 11 different languages. It also comes with on-device mode, allowing users to access the app offline. This app will make it even easier for businesses to work internationally now, potentially opening up new markets in the long-term.
Enhanced privacy for more transparency and control
One of the biggest considerations for users and businesses is how their data is being used. With iOS14, new privacy controls come to Apple iPhones, meaning users can use the device both confidently and securely. For example, all apps will now be required to ask permission before tracking activity, plus users get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera.
Other iOS14 features and updates
Incoming call notifications – Incoming FaceTimes, phone calls and Siri interactions take on an all-new compact design that enables users to stay in the context of what they are doing with Picture-in-Picture support. This will allow iPhone users to watch a video or take a FaceTime call while still using another app.
Home app – Apple has made adjustments to make smart homes even easier to control. New features include adaptive lighting for compatible smart lighting kits and on-device facial recognition for compatible smart doorbells.
AirPods – Apple’s flagship wireless headphones can now seamlessly switch between different Apple devices.
Digital Car Keys – Users can now open compatible vehicles with just their iPhone or Apple Watch. They can be shared with other users and, for security, users have the ability to disable them in the cloud if the device goes missing or is stolen.
Safari – Following the update, users can expect built-in translation for entire webpages, access to a new Privacy Report and improved password monitoring.
Health – New features coming to the Health app will help users better understand their sleep and provide insight into audio levels that may affect their hearing health.
We think that customers will really enjoy what’s coming with iOS14, and with new Apple devices rumoured for September, it looks like a good time to be an iPhone user.